Do you see the glass as half empty or half full? Studies suggest that optimism or pessimism is determined by a combination of genetics, environment, and choice. There’s also strong evidence that a hopeful outlook enhances your mental and physical wellbeing.
Whatever your current perspective, you can maximize your capacity for optimism by training your brain to think differently.
Take a look at these strategies for becoming more optimistic.
- Increase your resilience. Positive beliefs make it easier to manage stress and overcome obstacles. You’ll have more energy and choose effective coping skills.
- Strengthen your relationships. Studies show that optimists are more satisfied with their relationships and the support they receive from their partners. It’s natural for others to like being around someone who is friendly and cheerful.
- Earn more money. Optimists tend to have higher incomes too. You might get a raise through building up your network and finding more meaning in your work.
- Live longer. A sunnier attitude also has many physical health benefits. That includes strengthening your heart and immune system and extending your longevity.
- Remember your purpose. Your daily activities become more fulfilling when you have a sense of purpose. Envision the legacy that you want to create. Imagine what you would do if you already had all the money you needed.
- Socialize more. Spending time with family and friends lifts your spirits. Of course, it helps if they’re optimistic too.
- Screen the news. How do you feel after you watch your local news or a political debate? If the media you consume is making you sad and anxious, choose your sources more carefully. It might also help to discuss disturbing issues with others as a way of sorting through your emotions.
- Build your confidence. Understand your strengths and recognize your achievements. You’ll feel more capable and hopeful about your future. Your spiritual faith may also give you comfort and courage.
- Live mindfully. Stay grounded by living in the present and making conscious decisions. Observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them.
- Plan your day. Use a paper journal or an app to set daily goals and measure your progress. You can also record the things you’re grateful for and the happy events that occur each day. That way positive episodes will stay in the forefront of your mind.
- Focus on solutions. Distinguish between the things you can control and the things you need to accept. When you’re tempted to complain, shift your attention towards taking constructive action.
- Repeat affirmations. Give yourself inspiring and reassuring messages. The more often you repeat them, the more you will believe them. Write your own affirmations or look for ideas in books and websites about personal growth.
- Work out. Taking care of yourself will make your circumstances feel more hopeful. In addition to eating and sleeping well, be sure to exercise regularly. An active lifestyle boosts your mood and reduces your risk for many serious health conditions.
- Recognize impermanence. Keep in mind that your experiences are temporary. Even if you’re currently going through a divorce or a layoff, you may soon find a new love or a different job. Life is filled with ups and downs.
- Be realistic. Rational thinking is an essential part of optimism. Your toilet will overflow, and your car will break down. However, you can learn to remain calm and content in stressful situations.
Teach yourself to look on the bright side by adjusting your daily habits. Becoming more of an optimist will help you to enjoy greater happiness, health, and success.